New England Patriots

JuJu Smith-Schuster reacts to lack of playing time in Patriots-Dolphins

Smith-Schuster first entered the game in the fourth quarter after Bourne and Parker left with injuries.

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New England Patriots wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster was left to wonder about his lack of playing time following the team's 31-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Smith-Schuster first entered the game in the fourth quarter after injuries took Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker out of the game.

Smith-Schuster's sole target was hauled in for a 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

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"It's with the coaches, the decisions they made with the players," Smith-Schuster told reporters when asked if he was surprised to not enter the game until the fourth quarter. "It is what it is."

Smith-Schuster has seen a fairly consistent decline in usage since Week 1, when he caught four passes on seven targets for 33 yards in the Patriots' season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The veteran wideout tallied a season-high five catches on six targets for 28 yards in a Week 2 defeat to the Miami Dolphins. After that, Smith-Schuster has been nearly invisible in the Patriot offense.

"I've been in situations like this before," Smith-Schuster added. "When the opportunity comes, I just need to make the most of it."

Smith-Schuster logged two catches for eight yards in Weeks 3 and 4 combined. After seeing a bit of an uptick in targets with four in the Patriots' 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 5, Smith-Schuster was only able to gain six yards on three receptions.

Smith-Schuster was ruled out of New England's Week 6 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders after being placed in the concussion protocol.

"I'm good, I'm good," Smith-Schuster said when asked how he was feeling after missing the last two games. "I was excited just to be out there on the field and help this team put points on the board."

Needless to say, his re-entrance into the Patriot offense did not go as well as he probably would have liked.

The Patriots signed Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $33 million-dollar contract in free agency, while letting former receiver Jakobi Meyers walk. Meyers would sign with the Raiders on a similar deal. He has tallied 37 receptions on 56 targets for 385 yards and five touchdowns in six games so far this season.

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